PhD fellow in Computer Supported Cooperative Work / Critical Data Studies in asylum decision-making

The Department of Computer Science (DIKU), Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen, is offering a PhD scholarship across Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Critical Data Studies as part of the interdisciplinary research project “Data Science for Asylum Legal Landscaping (DATA4ALL)”, which is a collaboration between DIKU and the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. The position commences September 1st, 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter, for a duration of 3 years.

About the DATA4ALL project

The DATA4ALL project will leverage data science to understand outcome variations in asylum decisions across Nordic countries – a problem central to migration law and wider debates related to international cooperation in the area of asylum and refugees. The project will compare large-scale decision data and case file transcripts from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and use natural language processing (NLP), sentiment analysis, machine learning, and process mining to unpack and understand what shapes outcome variations. The project further focus on computer-supported workflows. The advertised PhD is specifically related to this element of the project, which draws on participatory and ethnographic methods to engage with decision-makers themselves, raising question to the data and promote data literacy and ethics among both scholars and practitioners.  Particularly, the PhD will be responsible for planning and carrying out field studies as part of the team’s research into different assumptions and domain-specific factors impacting variations in asylum decisions.

The scientific environment

The PhD project will be hosted by the Software, Data, People & Society (SDPS) section where research is focused on software, process and data management systems, and methods for their development with concern for the broader landscape of stakeholders, thereby creating value for society. The research is often carried out in an interdisciplinary context and in collaboration with industry and public institutions. We value an open and amicable scientific environment with an inclusive and social atmosphere. The PhD will join the CSCW research group and the Confronting Data lab where the research centers around the concept of collaborative work as a basis for a nuanced understanding of the relationship between data, digitalization and society. As a core participant in the DATA4ALL project, the PhD will work independently but in close dialogue with the interdisciplinary research team spanning both DIKU and the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen.

Formal requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc/MA degree in a field relevant to CSCW, Critical Data Studies, or equivalent with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

Preferred candidates should have

  • one or more research- or popular publications in a topic relevant to the project
  • practical experience with deep empirical methods seeking to bridge research and design
  • concrete experience in setting up collaborations with partnerships outside the university
  • potential to contribute to frontier international, interdisciplinary research.

All applicants are expected to understand and speak Danish, Swedish and/or Norwegian fluently in order to plan and carry out empirical field studies. Furthermore, all applicants are expected to be able to use English as working language (written and spoken).

Principal supervisor is Professor Thomas Hildebrandt, Department of Computer Science, together with co-supervisor, Tenure-track Assistant Professor Naja Holten MøllerDepartment of Computer Science, and co-supervisor Professor WSR Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Faculty of Law,

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • Manage and carry through your PhD research project
  • Conduct the planned field studies in the DATA4ALL research project
  • Attend relevant PhD courses and research seminars
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis as part of the DATA4ALL project
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • Stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Service work for the department

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 331,125 (approx. €43,750) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,811). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees
  • Two page statement of your vision for the PhD project

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 1st of June 2020, 23:59 GMT +2.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at

Inquiries about the position can be made to the principal supervisor, Head of SDPS Section, Professor Thomas Hildebrandt (, cell phone: +45 3142 5279) or Tenure track Assistant Professor Naja Holten Møller (, cell phone: +45 27595792).


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.